Re: Re: Copyright laws?

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I got an idea, an unofficial sequel to a book written in 1959. That’s 50 years ago, and the authior is dead. I THINK Penguin holds the rights to this book, but I’m not sure. These are my questions:

1. Do the copyrights on books expire after a certain amount of time, and if so how would you find out if it had?

yes… usually 70 years after the death of the author…

2. What exactly is copyrighted in a book? For example can anyone use the names of the characters and locations in a copyrighted title?

…the entire work is copyrighted as a whole… titles cannot be copyrighted, neither can the names of characters or locations… however, if the names have become registered trademarks, then you can’t use them without permission… so, you couldn’t write about ‘superman’ or ‘wonder woman’ or ‘batman’ for instance, unless you had the trademark owner’s permission…

3. How exactly would you go about getting permission to write a sequel to copyrighted material, and what kind of hoops could you expect to have to jump through?

…you have to contact the owner of the copyright… and the hoops would no doubt involve from a significant amount, to a LOT of money!…

4. Can you reference things in a copyrighted book, or quote from it, and if so what is the proper format for doing so? For example if you are writting a non-fiction book, and quoting things from another book, you use something like MLA.

…you cannot use lines from the copyrighted material in your own work, if it’s being written to be published for pay… but there are ‘fair use’ exceptions you’ll find explained on the website… you would have to cite the material properly using either the MLA or CMS method…

There are probably aditional things I haven’t thought of asking, but if you have any idea how to answer any or all of these questions, I’d sure appreciate it if you would share the information! Even if all you could do was direct me to someone who could answer these questions, I’d be much obliged.

…you really need to study all the info on the site, if you want to be a professional writer…

love and hugs, maia